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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

AU men’s basketball falls to Trojans on the road, 82-71

The Eagles struggled to find the team’s first outing of the new year
AU Athletics
Eagle forward Stefan Stanic runs back down the court after making a defensive play for his team.

To kick off the new year, the Ashland University men’s basketball team struggled to find their footing in a loss to the Trevecca Nazarene Trojans, 82-71.

The game was highlighted by two runs by the Trojans, each of which resulted in the opposition outscoring the Eagles by 10 points. While the Eagles attempted to keep things within reach, the struggles to find a rhythm became evident as the uphill climb on a double-digit deficit became too hard for the team to overcome.

In the first half of play, the Eagles opened things up early with stifling defense as they were able to convert offensively. The two sides battled back and forth with minimal edge taken.

That would last until the Trojans started to find answers to the Eagles’ offensive schemes.

With the offense centering around the quick pace of play and playmaking ability of Simon Wheeler, the Trojan defense opted to double-team and limit the movement he could do. This resulted in a handful of turnovers from the sophomore guard, as he had five turnovers in the opening 10 minutes of play.

When not on the floor, Eagle Head Coach John Ellenwood had to dive deeper into his bench rotation to find a primary ballhandler. Those included Jordan Edwards, Trevell Adams, and at times, Cooper Davis.

However, none of them were able to fully lead the offense like Wheeler has this season, and with him struggling, the team’s flow stagnated.

They would head into the halftime break trailing, 33-28, while shooting just 34.6% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc. While the team did trail by upwards of 10 points at one point in time, the team showed signs of resilience as they looked to not let the lead grow too large.

In the second half, things looked to be up for the Eagles as they came out quickly and took control of the game back into their hands.

Eagle forward Victor Searls would score the opening three baskets for the team, as he received feeds from Wheeler and his big-man counterpart Maceo Williams to help convert ball movement into baskets.

Once again though, the Eagles would hit a wall as the elite shooting from Trojan guard Jalen Page.

Page started to make it rain from beyond the arc as he pushed his team’s lead to 13 points, 47-34.

With the Eagles’ backs up against the wall, Davis, Searls and Williams would lead a six-point charge to bring the Eagles back within a single-point deficit with 12 minutes left in the game. However, the large lead made it nearly impossible for the Eagles to come close to tying the game back up.

The final 12 minutes of the game would be highlighted by the Eagles doing anything possible to close the gap, but the relentless offensive strength the Trojans possessed never staggered.

They would coast to an 82-71 win over the Eagles as they took the No. 1 spot in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC) standings.

To finish the game, the Eagles shot 40.7% from the field, 38% from three-point range and 65% from the free throw line while turning over the ball 24 times. The team was led by Searls who finished the game with 23 points and 15 rebounds, and Williams who recorded 13 points and eight rebounds.

Their paint presence was not enough to propel the team to a win as the Trojans’ 13 three-pointers catapulted the team ahead.

Of those 13 three-pointers, Page would knock down five of them en route to a 26-point, seven assists and six rebound performance.

The loss pushes the Eagles down to a 9-3 overall record while sitting 3-2 in conference play. They next look to take on the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers on Saturday, Jan. 6, with tip-off set for 3:00 P.M. in Owensboro, Ky.

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